02 January 2019

NSW Health is urging people to ditch overly ambitious New Year’s resolutions and start 2019 with small, healthy lifestyle changes that are more sustainable. It’s the small steps which are the secret to making big lifestyle changes that will last, according to Centre for Population Health Executive Director Dr Jo Mitchell.

“People often make and break their New Year’s resolutions within a few weeks because they try to change old habits too fast,” Dr Mitchell said.

“A healthy life is a marathon not a sprint, and checking out our free Get Healthy website and campaign is a great start – it provides people with a health coach for six months to guide them through their health goals.

“The website is also full of tips, and teaches people that small steps, small portions and small improvements all lead to more sustainable long-term habits.”

Figures show more than 53 per cent of people over 16 living in NSW are overweight or obese because of overeating and underexercising.

Dr Mitchell said exercise doesn’t need to be intense to be good for you and activities like walking, gardening or even housework can improve fitness.

“No-one likes chores but pushing a mop across the floor, cleaning your windows or mowing the lawn all helps to burn kilojoules,” she said.

“Walking is a more pleasant way to get active, reducing chronic disease risk. Doing any physical activity is better than none - 10 minutes a day can make a difference.”

With 47,196 hospitalisations and 5,460 deaths attributed to smoking annually, NSW Health is also encouraging smokers to consider ‘butting out’ on January 1.

“Within a day of stopping, the carbon monoxide level in a smoker’s blood has decreased dramatically and in the first week their tastebuds come alive and sense of smell improves,” said Dr Mitchell.

Smokers looking for support to quit can call the Quitline on 13 78 48 or visit icanquit.com.au.

In 2018-19 the NSW Government is investing over $38 million towards reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and $13.5 million on tobacco control including education campaigns, smoking cessation support, enforcement of smoke-free laws

and targeted programs for vulnerable groups.

Page Updated: Wednesday 2 January 2019